Ethnic-Racial Socialisation in the UK: The Use of Egalitarianism Parenting in Explaining Meanings of Race and Ethnicity in Non-Immigrant White and British South Asian Families

  • Humera Iqbal
Part of the Advances in Immigrant Family Research book series (ADIMFAMRES, volume 1)


This chapter examines the use of egalitarianism parenting by second generation immigrant Indian and Pakistani and non-immigrant White mothers living in multicultural areas in the UK. Egalitarianism is a type of ethnic–racial socialisation in which parents teach children the importance of individual qualities as opposed to membership in their ethnic group. Findings from a larger study of 90 mothers (almost evenly distributed between British-born Indian, Pakistani and White families) with children between the ages of 5–7 years are discussed. Mothers were asked a range of questions relating to ethnic identification, culture, and experiences of racism to try and uncover how race and ethnicity impacted their children and their own lives.

Egalitarian messages were found to be intricately woven into families’ habits, customs and daily routines. They were transmitted both intentionally and unintentionally and existed in different forms. Parents used them as important coping tools in highly ethnically diverse settings. As a whole, egalitarianism was used as the main form of ethnic–racial socialisation by White and Indian families. It served as a parenting strategy for the psychological well-being and positive adjustment of children around race and culture issues. Moreover, egalitarianism was found to be an important form of ethnic–racial socialisation used by primary schools.


Parenting Practice Racial Socialisation Cultural Socialisation Socialisation Strategy White Family 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Family ResearchUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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